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Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2009 Apr;18(4):509-19. doi: 10.1517/13543780902841951 .

DCVax-Brain and DC vaccines in the treatment of GBM.

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Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.



DCVax-Brain (Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc., Bethesda, MD, USA) is a personalized treatment for brain tumors. Its approach of administering autologous tumor antigen-bearing dendritic cells (DCs) has garnered hope for more effective and less toxic therapy for patients with malignant brain tumors including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). DCVax-Brain composition and efficacy are not fully disclosed, although sponsors claim it is poised to critically test clinical DC vaccine efficacy in GBM patients.


This review examines the efficacy of DC vaccine therapy in treating GBM patients. REVIEW QUESTION: To determine if the approach of DC vaccination followed by DCVax-Brain shows ample clinical promise in GBM patients.


All published reports of DC vaccination for GBM and press releases regarding DCVax-Brain findings were evaluated. CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF REPORTS AND SUMMARY OF OUTCOMES: Published DC vaccine trials for high-grade glioma patients suggest favorable clinical outcomes not easily ascribed to non-treatment parameters. Evidence of possible selection bias exists in many reports, but efforts to account for this are evident in the most recent publications.


DC vaccine trials provide evidence of low toxicity in GBM patients and effective induction of antitumor immunity in the latest publications correlate with clinical improvements. Preliminary reports on DCVax-Brain clinical outcomes seem to follow these trends.

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